Home made Chicken Panang – YUM!

Boy, do I love Thai food!  We have a great restaurant here in New London, CT. and I have been trying for years to get a Panang (it is a coconut curry based cream sauce – totally amazing!) together that is as good as theirs.  I think with this combination, I have done that!  It takes a few specialty items, but if you like Thai cooking, they are ingredients you will use often.  The critical ingredient is the fish sauce…. don’t smell it when you get it – really nasty, (It’s made from pressed anchovies….need I say more?.) but I have tried this without it, and you absolutely need it for the true Thai flavor!  This is a fairly simple recipe – and REALLY good!  You can make it as hot as you like with the red pepper flakes – I like it HOT, my wife not so much, so I usually add extra red pepper to mine.  The brown sugar is also a critical ingredient  – its amazing how much of a difference an additional tsp or so makes – use this to taste!  I should say – this recipe with one breast is enough for 2 people with some leftovers – use 2 breasts if they are small. 
2 tbs vegetable oil
4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs light brown sugar
1 large chicken breast, (2 if they are small) skinless, sliced thin into about ¼ x 1 inch pieces
1 13.6 oz can coconut milk ( use all the solids, about ½ the liquid)
pinch of red pepper flakes
1.5  tbsp fresh basil minced
2 tbs green curry paste (available in the specialty foods section of your market – same place as the coconut milk)
2 tbs fish sauce ( find it in the same place)
1.5 tbs yellow curry powder ( available in the spice section – this is handy for a number of recipe’s!)
1 cup diced 3 color frozen peppers
2 cups frozen green beans
3 tbs lime juice
(about ½ cup ½ and ½ if needed to cream it up)
For the rice:
½ cup dry rice
1 cup water
1 tbs butter
Bring water and butter to boil, add rice, stir, and lower heat to simmer.  Cover and heat for about 8 minutes till fluffy.
For the Panang:
In a large sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over med high heat, then sauté garlic till translucent.  Add chicken, cook till almost done, about 7 minutes, stirring often.  Add peppers, beans, curry powder and basil.  Cover, lower temp to med low, and simmer for about 5 minutes till the veggies are warmed. Add remaining ingredients and stir well – as for the coconut milk – add all the solids, and about ½ the liquid.  Simmer for about 8 or 10 minutes until all the flavors are mixed.  Serve over rice.
Again, as I have said before, all measurements are approximate – feel free to change to your taste.  I have added ½ and ½ if the sauce wasn’t creamy enough, the sugar is an important part as well.  I have even made coconut milk by simmering ½ and ½ with shredded baking coconut – strain out the coconut before adding, and it works fine!  This is Thai restaurant cooking at home –  my wife is a HUGE Panang fan, and she swears this is as good as anything we have had out!  Enjoy!
Bon appetite!

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